Your workplace might have a few signs pleading with staff to maintain a clean working environment by clearing up after themselves and ensure that the place is tidy. While this would seem to be basic courtesy that should come as a given for working professionals, there’s plenty of people who are guilty of letting their office descend into a less than salubrious state.
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The effects of an untidy office go far beyond the visible eyesore of discarded food packaging and paper bundles. When a workplace is clearly untidy, this can impact negatively on productivity levels for a variety of reasons. Piles of litter are almost impossible to ignore, which draws employees’ attention away from their work. When the time comes that you need to sift through some of those piles to find just one document, that can drag you away from your desk for some time and this becomes very costly in the long run – the International Data Corporation found that workplaces can lose up to $2.5 million a year owing to productivity declines because workers were trying to track down papers that hadn’t been filed properly.
On a more serious note, illnesses could stem from poorly-maintained workplaces and regular absenteeism occurs as a consequence. If several employees are missing for days on end, this will clearly have a huge impact on productivity and, while some absences can be dubious, most are completely genuine. Maintaining a clean working environment might not eradicate such absenteeism altogether, but it should help to cut down on it significantly.
What can be done, then, to improve the cleanliness of your working environment? Air vents might be cleaned regularly so that musty odors don’t develop, but the same treatment is rarely (if ever) administered to equipment such as printers and photocopiers which can accumulate large quantities of dust. Around the office, implement a ‘no-clutter’ policy where if anything is unused for more than a month, it gets dumped. Old stationery can be a magnet for dust, so why are those manuals from 20 years ago still stacked on a bookshelf of minimal practical value?
The following infographic from Cleaning Services Group examines how maintaining a clean working environment is likely to be rewarded with improvements in productivity. It’s a very easy way of helping to ensure that targets are met and besides, who’d want to spend most of their week in an office that’s rife with malodors and litter?